Total Pageviews

Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Problems and processes

Deleuze found in differential equations a key to conceive of difference independently of syncategorematic operation of negativity. I think we can understand his trouble with negativity - and therefore contradiction (and, to some extent, contrariety) by considering Blanchot's insistence that denying something is already bringing what is denied to the fore. Negation - and any syncategorematic operation - preserves content (for instance, preserves the constituting propositions). Difference has to operate in a more internal level, in a somehow genetic level - it's got to do with genes and chromosomes or with clinamens that Deleuze (in D&R) takes to be not merely a deviation of the orbit of an atom, but rather what gives rise to the orbit and the movement of the atom. Difference is a drift from something produced not by an external intervention but rather by a modulation - it deals in continuities. Hence, differential calculus instead of propositional logic. Then the issue arrises as to what is the ontological status of those folds, those small differends, those tiny contituents - the infinitesimals or, rather, the differentials.

Deleuze doesn't want to merely incorporate infinitesimals to ontology - or to mathematics, in the manner of Robinson's non-standard analysis. Or, rather, he won't be prepared to do it before his 1988 book on Leibniz. In any case, he doesn't want to merely assume an infinitist ontology as that would mean, as it somehow does in Leibniz, envisaging a landscape of differentials that would be the ultimate identities - difference would be redeemed at the infinitesimal level. He rather wants to start out with difference - and not with differential (differential entities). This is where the problematic is brought up. Those differentials exist within the scope of problems - they are brought to the fore whenever a further difference is required. It is not that we could spot all the differentials if we had enough capacity of capture - like determinations that are there but we sometimes cannot see. The differentials are brought up (instaurés) by the problems. Those infinitesimals are built in the process, there is no archaic repository of differences from which we elaborate concepts and develop organisms built with matrixes of differences and indifferences. Differences are themselves sponsored by processes. Deleuze understands these processes in terms of his dialectics of the problematic - problems bring up differences, differentials. Here again, clausure and capture could seem sometimes very close: it is a matter of whether there is a world before the monads or rather the monads constitute the world. Capture is clausure inside-out. Problems are instances where not only a matrix of differences and indifferences is built but where differentials themselves are brought about. The various physical, biological, social processes produce and sustain differences as actants navigate in the space of problems. (Compare this process philosophy of problems with Latour's one of tests of force.)


  1. It seems that in DR differences have to do with production and not with induction, deduction, abduction or any kind of representational nexus. Differences aren’t reducible to identity, substance or object-oriented operations. Processes (=material production), are mediated by differences, and not the other way around (as in differences thought of as structuring input or as structured byproduct of processes). Real differences are producing differences, not structural ones, and so processes are differentially mediated by themselves: i.e. transcendental problems that reformulate themselves as they are solved. Deleuze’s process philosophy, as we might well say today, is an object-disoriented philosophy. And I guess his ontology (as required by D&G’s materialist psychiatry), a partial-object-oriented one.

  2. I like partial-object oriented and object disoriented! Hehehe.